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Rebooting Ye Olde Sparky Exercise Program - But How?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Yo! Remember me? I used to blog some here. I used to track food. I used to swim every day, miles and miles. I used to lose dozens of pounds with effortless abandon. A few of you mistakenly regarded me as a motivator. A few more of you were envious.

Most of you were frustrated by my effortless success, tired of me, and vanished into the Sparky ether. Who could have blamed you? I was losing bricks, canoes and cinder blocks (symbols of weight gone) and you were perhaps plateaued. With kindness (but perhaps from your perspective, smug superiority) I blogged about matters such as breaking through weight loss plateau floors as if they were not there. I mistakenly blogged about exercise being comparatively unimportant to my weight loss success - all the while not even thinking about my 75 miles of summer swimming and its benefit. Truly I am not the sharpest tool in the shed by long-shot.

Well all of that that was then. This is a somewhat different and more challenging now. Summer is my time of year, to again quote my favorite song by the band "war." This is a considerably more challenging autumn. Constraining changes have included:

1. The closure of the pool. Maybe all 300ish of you are tired of hearing me whine and lament this, but just in case not --- arrrggghhhh! The Hunt for Orange October has me pleasantly distracted and then some, but still, I miss swimming a lot.

2. Shorter daylight hours. Early morning and evening walks and other forms of outdoor workout now require planning, reflective exercise gear, flashlights and still an element of danger from fallen branches, mosquitoes and other varmints, the occasional speeding teenager tearing through neighborhood roads, whatever. It's not the same.

3. School. I share in helping Thing 1 and Thing 2 get ready in the morning, occasional carpool assistance in the morning, regular late afternoon carpool duty, and homework assistance (particularly in Math and Science - not English obviously - this is incoherent...). So the limited time on weekdays there might be for exercise is somewhat usurped by the joys of fatherhood.

Exercise has a hard time butting its way into this schedule. With the best of intentions I was bringing workout clothing to work to use at lunch. Being the co-owner (with Susan818127) and thus, the marketing department, in this economy I continue to find that marketing never ends. Lunchtime often is given over to it, and thus, not to exercise.

Exercise largely has been relegated to weekends. When the Ravens are on, I spend the full first half of the game on an inclined treadmill (and then tend to be sore from over-doing it). I go for long walks on weekend mornings over hilly terrain, and even do a little strength training when I can stomach the icky thought.

The consequence of decreased time for exercise is (what a shock) a dramatic reduction in my pace of weight loss. Identifying the problem and implementing a feasible solution are two different things for now, but identifying the problem solves half the problem. Now to shoehorn a couple of hours between 5:30 and 6:30 AM...

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I hear you. Pool closing day is the worst. But I dropped off the Sparkmap just about when you did, and I am finding my way back. so will you.
    2983 days ago
    Come back and blog some more. Your blogs are always good reading. Plateaus happen. It took me from June to September to lose 10 pounds What counts is that you don't stop and don't give up. Whether we reach nothing by Thanksgiving or by Thanksgiving five years from now, the important thing is that we WILL reach it if we don't give up.

    2984 days ago
    Okay, so I haven't followed every word lately, so if you have previously referred to your kids as Thing 1 and Thing 2 -- as I do with my kids -- I missed it. Made me laugh.
    Second: if you haven't checked out HBO's "Weight of the Nation" you really may enjoy it. And find this factoid: for weight loss, exercise is not particularly helpful, but it is essential to keeping it off. To lose weight, portion control -- and esp. not drinking one's calories -- is important. So... score! Don't worry so much about not swimming!
    Third: you ARE a motivator. Who wants to be inspired by someone who never failed? How can a person who has never overcome adversity understand the long, lonely, daily fight of others? If you've never sat down in front of plate of wings with blue cheese on the side and then "time-traveled" and came out the other side saying, "What the h@ll happened to all those wings?" then we can't reach an understanding.
    4: You know what else is inspiring? How you talk with such appreciation of your wife. And that you're in this together. And your blogs are fun to read. Thanks for the effort you put into them.
    The fifth and final: I'm from Philly: Ravens. Meh (Hee hee). Kind of depressed reading about Jim McMahon this morning. Once we get non-Footlocker-refs we'll see how this season turns out.
    2986 days ago
  • MACMOM57
    Keep working hard you can do it. Rooting for the Orange for sure.
    2992 days ago
  • COOKIE_AT_51
    emoticon through the changes emoticon
    2992 days ago
    Everyone before me has given you some great ideas so nothing comes to mind i have become hooked on motivational sayings to get me over the slips on the trail they seem to make good bandages for me. do you have a thing 3 a 4 legged furry friend who likes to walk ? that;e always fun. When the road to success seemed much too long and each temptation was oh so strong
    and once again you gave in to wrong – START OVER
    When you’ve worked so hard to follow a healthy way and you fought to win a
    victory each day, but one more time you went astray – START OVER
    emoticon emoticon
    2993 days ago
  • no profile photo CD12729070
    In our household, schedules fly right out the window. I try to get in what exercise I can first thing in the mornings and then do what else I can thru out the rest of the day. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2993 days ago
    The worst wrench is that which gets thrown into a schedule, amiright? Ugh, summer is over - no free time to run in the morning. But so much easier to eat healthy when I'm at work and have to pack a lunch. But then the school year ends and it's "Now I'm home... time to eat!" until I figure out it's time to exercise again.

    It's always getting used to the new schedule that throws me. Oh well...
    2993 days ago
    This is the first time I have read one of your blogs and I loved it. As was stated before, "naming the beast is the first step". We all have our lessons that we have to learn along this journey. I guess this was one of yours.

    emoticon emoticon
    2993 days ago
    You can do it. I know because I've successfully rebooted. Here are some ideas..Is there a fun activity like throwing a ball, walking or biking with Things 1 & 2? Can you do the tv commercial workouts that were up on yesterday's spark blog? Find an indoor pool that's affordable? Spend 15 minutes of your "lunch" walking, clearing your head an coming up with other marketing ideas? Just some thoughts. Good luck!
    2993 days ago
    Life happens.
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

    2993 days ago
  • MARYANN2323
    Hey, you'll do it. You just have to move that flight plan to zero over a few notches.
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2993 days ago
    I work out DURING work. Park far from the building and run the stairs. Walk downstairs to get my coffee and spend 10 minutes in the aerobics room doing Tai Chi for warmup, light hand weights, squats, and box jumps - when my knee permits.

    At my desk the timer roars at me every 15 minutes and I do an isometric exercise of some sort. Since it goes off umpteen times a day I get to ignore it if I'm on the phone or talking to someone, but otherwise I squeeze some muscle somewhere.

    At lunch I take the LONNNNNGGG way to the cafeteria for my coffee and side dish. I shoot for a minimum of 10 minutes. Being in Western Pennsylvania there is virtually no place you can walk without finding a lovely hill or incline, so I have a choice - incline on the way to lunch or incline on the way back? :)

    My problems are really similar to yours, because the only portion of my current fitness plan that doesn't work well is my cardio - which is Zumba at home. Too many distractions!!! I'll keep working at it, and at the endless homework dilemmas.

    As parents we are Masters at making it work! Keep plugging away and you'll find your exercise "happy" again!
    2993 days ago
    Do the challenges on the team. They are pretty good and don't take all that much time. There is a featured blog today in the daily spark that is a challenge to do during commercials if you watch television. I don't watch TV except on Friday and Thursday nights. I will do it on those nights. I know you will be watching the playoffs and series if the Orioles win it, or I should say WHEN they win it.
    2993 days ago
    Thanks for the great start to my morning!
    2993 days ago
    Yup, welcome to the big plateau! It sucks, doesn't it? Both a combination of less activity and our bodies adjusting to fewer calories. Plus the whole set point theory.

    Sometimes I just go with the plateau. Sometimes I change up what I'm doing foodwise - maybe try a bigger lunch and just a big salad for dinner. Other times (like now that I'm retired) I walk 8 miles a day and eat a bit more - and that actually is what works best for me.

    So - play with it. Don't go crazy changing up food, but maybe you can find a new workout that fits into your weekday life, and then keep up with the weekend workout. Or find a Y or another place with a pool (a college? YMCA? something) and keep on swimming.

    Good luck! (And don't hibernate!)
    2993 days ago
    Excellent blog that resonates with me, too, even in maintenance. AS was said, naming the beast is the first step. Then finding the solution. It's difficult to find the mojo as life gets in the way, and some days are just plain not successful. BUT keep plugging away.

    Love Green Day!
    2993 days ago
  • JIBBIE49
    Oh, That "HOMEWORK: A NATURAL SLEEP AID" is SO beautiful. Sure made me sleepy. Two of my children used ADDERALL to get through college and it was a blessing.
    2993 days ago
    I totally identify with needing to identify the source of the problem. I call it "naming the beast." I read Dr. Birdie's blog last week that helped me so much in doing that with something I was going through that she called a "mental plateau" and it was perfect! It's when you begin bargaining with yourself about the worth of what you're doing, whether where you are is okay, whether just this one thing to eat will hurt, whether you can just skip this day of exercise... Thank you, I've been missing your blogs and humor! Laura
    2993 days ago
  • PICKIE98
    Find the time?? I just reach around the back of the clock and move the numbers back... easy as pie!!
    2993 days ago
    I hear what you are saying about finding the time. With the shorter nights now, I am finding the same problems. I really need some better bike lights and a bit more hi-viz on my clothing. A real shame about your local pool. Ours shut some years ago but a new one opened but its a 9 mile cycle or drive each way to it now, or we need to join an expensive gym (which is not going to happen any time soon). I too miss swimming but I don't do the mileage that you do in the pool. Your mileage is awesome!!
    Good luck with your early morning regime, I hope that your weightloss continues.
    2993 days ago
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